The G20 summit in Hamburg saw 19 world leaders come together on Saturday 8 July, with US President Trump labelling it a “wonderful success” despite being isolated regarding his position on climate change.
As the summit reached a unanimous agreement, overshadowed by violent protests in Hamburg, German Chancellor Angela Merkel was credited with strategically containing the split between the US and the other 19.
The split, due to the US withdrawing from the Paris climate accord last month, left critics renaming the forum the G19+1. The Paris accord is intended to target greenhouse gas emissions aimed at controlling global temperature increases.
Angela Merkel stressed that the discussions had been “very difficult”, following the leaders of 19 nations and the EU issuing a joint statement recognising the US decision to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement. However, other G20 members remained committed to the “irreversible” accord.
“Where there is no consensus, the disaccord must be mentioned. That’s why there is the American position on the one hand. As you know, the United States has unfortunately left the climate accord, or rather they expressed the intention to do so,” said Mrs. Merkel.
With the summit drawing to an end, Mr Trump seemed enthusiastic with his trip, yet European leaders viewed the US in a difficult and isolated position.
A former top state department official and Nato ambassador, Nicholas Burns said, “the US was more isolated at this G20 summit than at any other, partly because of its disavowal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact, but also because of how Mr. Trump criticises allies.”
“The US can’t lead effectively if we are constantly criticising our allies. Trump seems to regard Germany and other European countries more as economic competitors than as strategic allies. That is a great mistake of judgement about our most important friends in the world.”
US Congressman, Brendan Boyle was also alarmed by what he heard while spending time with German lawmakers at G20, stating, “Many of my meetings involved my European friends expressing dismay that the US under Trump is no longer the leader of the west. They are now openly looking for alternatives to US leadership.”